The Young Man

Major Bernard C. Pittman
212th (Winnipeg Americans) Battalion
BCPittman

Ability not age is the dominating factor in promotions over there. Major Bishop of the Canadian aviation corps, the most brilliant aviator in the British army is 18 years old. There is a brigadier general in the British army who is 28. This general enlisted from civil life as a private and worked his way to the top.

This war has proven that only young men and those of good physical ability can stand the strain of battle. Look at the order of General Pershing sending home all brigadier generals over 45 years of age.

(Pittman’s speech, Ellensburg Daily Record, 23 Jan 1918, 1)

Bernard Cleveland Pittman was born on 21 March 1887 in Independence, Missouri. In late 1915, the young National Guardsman travelled to Winnipeg to join the 101st Battalion and offered to raise an all-American company. After the formation of the 97th American Legion he went to Toronto to became the battalion junior major. When a regional American battalion was formed in the west, Pittman headed back to Winnipeg to take command of the 212nd.

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The General

Lieutenant Colonel Robert James Bates
212th (Winnipeg Americans) BattalionBates

The distinctive thing about the battalions in the Legion, of course, is that they are all American, from the humblest private to the commanding officer. In the American army we have Negro regiments commanded by American officers, but the Canadians have placed all responsibility for the battalions in the Legion on American shoulders, and the Americans believe that they will consent to an American general at the head of a division if enough Yankees turn out to form one.

(The Outlook, 28 June 1916, 504)

Robert James Bates was a Canadian-born general in the Michigan National Guard. Born in 1868 in Feversham, Ontario, he moved to the United States with his family at the age of seven. He served for twenty-five years in the American army and was a captain with the 34th Michigan Volunteer Infantry during the Spanish American War.

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The Brooklyner

Major George C. Hart
97th (American Legion) Battalion

Major G. C. Hart, a big muscular soldier with a scowl engraved on his leathery face…

(J. W. Pegler, Altoona Mirror, 23 Nov 1916, 2)

George Clark Hart was a twenty-year veteran of the New York National Guard who fought in Cuba during the Spanish-American war and Mexico during the revolution. He was born on 16 April 1875 in Elmira, New York. He was also military drill instructor and disciplinarian at the Elmira Reformatory.

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